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UN chief visits Indonesia quake, tsunami survivors

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Antonio Guterres

Jakarta, Oct 12 (IANS) UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres on Friday visited the survivors of the earthquake and subsequent tsunami that hit the Indonesian island of Sulawesi killing 2,073 people.

Accompanied by Indonesia´s Vice President Jusuf Kalla, Guterres examined the damage caused by the September 28 disaster in the city of Palu, reports Efe news.

More than 75 per cent of the 2,073 fatalities, according to the latest official data, occurred in this city where giant tsunami waves caused havoc to areas located hundreds of meters from the coast.

The UN chief also plans to visit Palu’s Balaroa neighbourhood, where thousands of homes were swallowed up by land liquefaction, a phenomenon that occurs when a strong shaking, such as that of an earthquake, liquefies soft soil, making the affected terrain sink and release waves of mud.

According to local estimates, some 5,000 people remain missing in Balaroa and the town of Petobo.

On Thursday, the authorities extended the search and rescue mission for survivors for another 24 hours, which will conclude at the end of Friday.

A team of 15 rescue personnel will remain in the area waiting for local requests to evacuate victims, Yusuf Latif, spokesperson for the national search and rescue agency in Palu, told Efe.

Rescue teams have not found a single survivor under the rubble for more than a week. Indonesian authorities said they will turn the areas most affected by the quake into memorial parks.

The catastrophe on Sulawesi Island is the worst experienced by Indonesia since the tsunami swept the western province of Aceh in 2004, killing 167,000 people.

The Indonesian archipelago is situated within the so-called “Pacific Ring of Fire”, an area known for its intense seismic and volcanic activity, which produce about 7,000 earthquakes each year, most of which are of moderate magnitude.

India

China’s Condolence Message on Pulwama Attack has no mention of Pakistan, Jaish

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New Delhi, Feb 16 : In a condolence message to Minister of External Affairs Sushma Swaraj over the Pulwama terror attack, China on Friday expressed “deep sympathies” to the families of the 40 CRPF men killed in a terror attack in Jammu and Kashmir and made no reference to Pakistan or Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) chief Masood Azhar, who has claimed responsibility for the attack.

China on Saturday sent a condolence message to India and denounced “all forms of terrorism” and stressed that terrorism is the common enemy of mankind and that the “Chinese side resolutely opposes and strongly condemns all forms of terrorism”.

The message by Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi stressed that terrorism is the common enemy of mankind and that the “Chinese side resolutely opposes and strongly condemns all forms of terrorism”.

The statement, however, did not make any reference to Pakistan, even though the attack was claimed by Pakistan-based terror group, Jaish-e-Mohammed almost immediately.

“Countries in the region should enhance cooperation, jointly address the threat of terrorism and maintain regional peace and security,” Wang Yi’s message to Swaraj said.

India has said it had “incontrovertible evidence” of Pakistan’s involvement in the Pulwama attack. The Pakistan government, however, has denied involvement, calling the attack a matter of “grave concern.”

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Karachi school shut for playing Indian song “phir bhi dil hai Hindustani”

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Karachi University

New Delhi, Feb 16 : A school in Karachi lost its registration after a video of its children singing Indian songs with the Tricolor “phir bhi dil hai Hindustani” in the background in a function went viral.

An order by the directorate of inspection and resgistration of private institutions in the government of Sindh said that “display of such item in an educational institute was against the national dignity which cannot be tolerated in any circumstance.”

A show-cause notice was issued in the name of principal/owner of Mama Baby Care Schools in Karachi. The video shows children dancing to the song “phir bhi dil hai Hindustani” (the heart is Indian). The screen in the background showed Indian flag. The event was said to be to depict culture of various nationalities.

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Egypt’s Army kills 7 terrorists in Sinai

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Egyptian police kill 9 'terrorists

Cairo, Feb 16 : As many as seven militants were killed on Saturday in a shootout at a checkpoint in the country’s North Sinai province, officials said. 15 military personnel were either killed or wounded in the gun battle, he added.

Military spokesman Tamer al-Refai said the forces were searching the area for other terrorists, Xinhua news agency reported.

Egypt has been facing terrorist violence, which has killed hundreds of policemen, soldiers and civilians, following the military ouster of former Islamist President Mohamed Morsi in July 2013 in response to mass protests against his one-year rule and his Muslim Brotherhood, currently banned.

Most terror attacks in Egypt in the past few years were claimed by a Sinai-based group loyal to the Islamic State terrorist group.

Meanwhile, the Egyptian Army and police have killed hundreds of terrorists and arrested thousands of suspects during the ongoing anti-terror war declared by Abdel Fattah El-Sisi.

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